Why be afraid of an Intifada?

By Nada Elia

One telling meme has been circulating on social media over the past week: “My name is Fadi. I’m 19 years old. I was being pursued by Israeli settlers. So I rushed to the Israeli police for help.  They shot me dead.” Along with the meme, the videotape of the killing of Fadi Alloun, as the settlers who had pursued him chanted “Death to Arabs,” has gone viral.

Alloun’s death is symbolic of the predicament West Bank Palestinians find themselves in, in their own occupied land, where they are hounded by armed settlers, who have the full protection of the Israeli military, while the Palestinian Authority, in charge of “coordinating security” with the Israeli forces, fails yet again at protecting its citizens.

Since Alloun’s death, five more Palestinians have been killed, over 175 Palestinians injured, and scores detained, as violent clashes with the Israeli military spread throughout the West Bank.  More are expected to fall victim to this latest round of “fierce clashes,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised an “all-out war” on Palestinians, who continue to take to the streets. The escalating violence has given rise to talk of a “third Intifada,” with various politicians and some media warning about such a development, as if it were to usher a significant deterioration in the living circumstances of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Is a Third Intifada in the making?  How exactly does one define or recognise an Intifada, that Arabic word that has entered Western discourse, finding its way into the Merriem-Webster’s dictionary, and now in currency with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, who use it to describe the grassroots rebellion against law enforcement violence in the US?  And why would an Intifada be a negative development, something to fear, if it is indeed a rebellion, an uprising, against a racist, brutal, murderous, occupying juggernaut?

Which begs the question, how does one understand an “all-out war” on the Palestinians, as distinct from the murderous violence Israel engages on a daily basis? Is the seven decades-long violation of the most basic human rights of a people not “an all-out war” against that people, when it is implemented through apartheid, dispossession, disenfranchisement, home demolitions, restrictions on freedom of movement, all-encompassing structural violence, and, in Gaza, a siege that is tantamount to genocide?

Any journalist covering Palestine/Israel knows it is extremely easy at any given time to give an exact count of Israeli casualties, if any, over the previous week, even as it is quasi-impossible, at that same time, to give any more than an approximation of Palestinian casualties.  Do we count Palestinians who die of malnutrition as “casualties?” What about those who die due to lack of access to healthcare?  What about miscarriages as a result of stress? And what words do we use to describe the situation in Gaza, in between the recurrent vicious land, air, and maritime assaults Israel refers to as “mowing the grass?”

How does one define “low intensity conflict,” as distinct from “all-out war?” Would the people of, say, England or the US consider the circumstances of Palestinians under occupation, in those periods not identified “all-out war,” livable?  Why, then, the “fear” of an intifada? Is it a fear of a change in the status quo that politicians are invested in, a status quo of peace talks that never translate into peace, road maps that lead to nowhere, while the military industrial complex grows ever more murderous?

“What possibly awaits us here is something like a new intifada,” said Martin Schafer, spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry. “That can’t be in anyone’s interest – it can’t be something anyone in Israel wants, or which any responsible Palestinian politician wants.”

But here’s part of the problem: truly responsible Palestinian politicians are not at the political helm. The so-called “Palestinian Authority” of Mahmoud Abbas is not responsible for the safety of the Palestinian people, it is not accountable to the Palestinians, it is a sub-contractor of the occupation. Like most politicians, Abbas is more invested in the process, than in genuine peace.  “Responsible Palestinians” are the civilians who persevere in their dogged attempts to survive, to go to school, to work, feed their families, have dreams and ambitions, be free, be sovereign. Responsible Palestinians rebel against injustice and violence.

Intifadas are good. They reveal to the world that Palestinians have not, will not, acquiesce to their oppression. The third intifada must be against the ongoing occupation as undertaken by the Israeli forces as well as their sub-contractor, the Palestinian Authority. Only then will the farce of Peace Accords and Road Maps be finally tossed into the trash heap of history, where it belongs.

An escalation in Israeli violence, both “state violence” and “state-facilitated settler violence,” along with an escalation in angry Palestinian resistance – because there is always resistance, but it changes qualitatively, in response to escalating Israeli violence – do not necessarily make for a Third Intifada. Yet the right mix of elements are there, the climate is ripe, and an intifada may indeed be brewing. The hope – not fear – is that this time, it will be against both Israel and all involved in the farce that is the “peace talks”. It is time for action.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Unraveling Islamic State’s Turkish recruitment scheme

Cars line a street leading to the city center in Adiyaman, Turkey, Oct. 15, 2015

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — Desperate families searching for their missing sons have helped authorities identify a leading Islamic State (IS) recruiter.

The suicide bombers behind the worst attacks in recent months have two things in common: They are all from the southeastern Turkey province of Adiyaman, and they are members of the Dokumacilar Unit of IS. Dokumaci is the last name of their recruiter, Mustafa Dokumaci. In Turkish, Dokumaci means “weaver.”

There were reports earlier about the existence of a group called the Adiyamanists, but in the last attack, in Ankara, they were firmly identified as Dokumacilar.

One mother from Adiyaman, whose son joined IS and disappeared, blamed Dokumacilar member Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz, perpetrator of the Suruc bombing in July. Authorities say his older brother, Yunus Emre Alagoz, also is affiliated with IS; he was photographed in Ankara before he allegedly set off one of the bombs there Oct. 10.

“Abdurrahman took my son away. I asked him where my son was. He said he was hurting too because his brother had joined [IS] also. [Another young man] and Seyh Abdurrahman seduced my son. My son, who was classmates with Seyh Abdurrahman, in turn deceived one of our relatives to join them. I told Seyh he was responsible for the fate of my son.”

She testified to a team from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) that was preparing a report on IS activities in Adiyaman. She didn’t want her name to be used.

Another source that testified to the same CHP team was related to Orhan Gonder, who was arrested and charged with setting off a bomb in June at the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Diyarbakir.

“When our son disappeared, we searched all over. For eight months we went to the border, gave his photograph to the governor. We advertised in newspapers as a missing person 10 times. We spoke with the prime minister at the AKP [Justice and Development Party] provincial assembly. The prime minister said to us, ‘I instructed the MIT [National Intelligence Organization] about your son.’ I spoke with the middle man who took my son away. He promised us he would be back in 18 days. I went to the Akcakale police and gave them his photos. I went to the border crossing and pleaded with the police chief. He took me to [a crossing] where other families were waiting. I knew my son was at Tell Abyad. I stayed at Akcakale six days. I never saw my son,” the source was quoted as saying in the CHP report.

It is estimated that Dokumaci so far has enlisted about 400 people from Adiyaman. About 60 of them are thought to be trained as suicide bombers.

Intelligence services have identified 21 of them and released photographs of 19. Some are still believed to be in Turkey. The first stop for those who join IS from Turkey is often Raqqa, Syria, where Dokumaci lives. They are trained as suicide bombers before returning to Turkey. They are chosen for the task because they know the country and can move about easily.

Hikmet Durgun of Russian Sputnik Media Group, who has reported extensively on IS, had warned of a possible suicide attack in Turkey before the Ankara bombing. Durgun told Al-Monitor that although the bombers are from Adiyaman, they usually aren’t sent back there unless it is necessary. “They go to Ankara, Istanbul and Gaziantep,” he said.

“The relatives of those who joined [IS] have been complaining bitterly about [Dokumaci]. The two bombers in the Ankara attack were also recruited by Dokumaci.”

Turks who join IS usually cross over to Syria from Gaziantep. “All those who join [IS] first go to Raqqa. Before, they used to go to Tell Abyad. But when that town fell into YPG [People’s Protection Units] hands, they stopped going there. Now they are settled in areas closer to the border. The idea is to use them to mobilize and organize Turkmens who live in that area. There used to be plenty of Turkmens at Tell Abyad. When YPG captured the town, [IS] militants fled to Raqqa,” he added.

Abdurrahman Tutdere, a lawyer and member of the CHP team that wrote the report, said IS formed a recruitment system in Adiyaman.

“They target children of poor families and work on recruiting them. They take them across in ones and twos. Then they come back and recruit others. They have set up a pipeline system. Those who go to [IS] for training come back and recruit more in Turkey,” he told Al-Monitor.

Tutdere said the number of those joining from Adiyaman could have been exaggerated. He noted that after the report was published, CHP didn’t receive any new reports of enlistment in IS.

Osman Suzen, the local head of the Human Rights Association, emphasized that the Dokumacilar Unit was exposed by the efforts of families of missing children. Suzen, speaking to Al-Monitor, said the Adiyaman name gained recognition as the birthplace of the suicide bombers.

“There is a misperception. There are people who enlist from Hatay, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Bingol and Konya. But everyone talks of Adiyaman because the bombing cell was made up of Adiyaman natives. How do you know how many joined from Diyarbakir?” he said.

“There are 16 people known as the Dokumacilar Unit. Who knows about 400 recruits? Where are they? Dokumacilar wasn’t known before as a unit, but Mustafa Dokumaci was already identified thanks to efforts of the families searching for their sons. They helped unravel the recruitment scheme. Mind you, their identification did not stop them from coming and going. They come, stay a little and leave. Everyone in Adiyaman knows this.”

Suzen noted that another key IS recruiter, Kasap Haci, was arrested.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Israel’s price tag gangs vandalize O.J., torch Palestinian property

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israel’s so-called price tag gangs at dawn Sunday burned down a Palestinian car and sprayed racist anti-Muslim graffiti in eastern Occupied Jerusalem.

A PIC news correspondent quoted local sources as reporting that hordes of Israeli price tag vandals smeared racist graffiti in Hebrew language inciting murder of Arabs and Muslims.

Price tag gangs have often desecrated Islamic and Christian sacred places of worship.

Observers said the fact that such a terrorist mob has been granted a quasi-systematic immunity from the occupation authorities stands as a barefaced proof of the inherently sadistic and preplanned nature of Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people and Islamic holy sites.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

17-year-old Palestinian fatally shot by Israeli troops

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation troops shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian during clashes in the southern occupied West Bank province of al-Khalil on Monday evening.

The teen was identified as Iyad Rawhi Jaradat, from al-Khalil’s town of Sa’ir.

The casualty was shot dead in Beit Ainun village during violent clashes with the Israeli occupation patrols.

The slain teen died on his way to hospital, where medics said a bullet lodged inside his head.

Locals said Jaradat was killed during clashes that broke out after the Israeli occupation forces aggressively disbanded a march that headed towards the home of Raed Jaradat, another Palestinian youth shot dead on Monday.

The occupation soldiers shot dead Raed Jaradat, 22, following an anti-occupation stabbing attack in northern al-Khalil.

A mass rally kicked off from Sa’ir town right after Iyad’s murder. Two Palestinians were hit with live rounds in the area.

Eye-witnesses said scores of Palestinian protesters sustained rubber bullet wounds and others choked on tear gas during Beit Ainun clashes.

Monday’s deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation troops since the outbreak of the Jerusalem Intifada to 61.

While some of those killed were shot after allegedly carrying out anti-occupation attacks, a number of shootings have been slammed by eye-witnesses and rights groups who found out the suspects posed no threat at the time of their death.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Palestinian rally held in Serbia to support Al-Aqsa

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian rally to show support for the Al-Aqsa Mosque took place in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Sunday, a statement from the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The march was organized by the Palestinian embassy, Fatah officials, and members of the Palestinian community and called on the international community to stop Israeli violations at Muslim and Christian holy places.
Participants waved Palestinian flags and posters urging justice for Palestine amid ongoing Israeli violations.
(Source / 26.10.2015)

Israeli jets target two Hamas sites after rocket fired from Gaza

An Israeli air force F-15I fighter jet. © Nir Elias

An Israeli air force F-15I fighter jet

The Israeli Air Force carried out a strike against two “Hamas terror sites” in southern and central Gaza after a rocket launched from the territory landed in Israel. The rocket did not cause any casualties.

No one has taken responsibility for Monday’s launch from Gaza so far.

Last year 450 rockets were fired at Israel’s from Gaza, and a rocket from the territory landed in the south of the country last Wednesday.

The Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigades, a pro-Islamic State Salafist group operating inside Gaza, which claims that Hamas members are “traitors” and “collaborationists”, has been behind most of the recent attacks, in what the IDF says is an attempt to provoke Israel into responding.

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However, Israeli officials hold Hamas responsible for any attacks originating from Gaza, with IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner saying that the group should face “consequences” if it cannot enforce its responsibilities.

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“The intolerable reality of civilians continually living under the threat of Gaza rockets is unacceptable, unbearable and must stop,” Lerner said. “Hamas must enforce their responsibilities or face the consequences. We will act against those that attack us and hold those that enable attacks against Israel accountable.”

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Israeli Prime Minister Proposes Cutting Off 80,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a recent Cabinet meeting, proposed revoking the residency rights of 80,000 Jerusalemites, which would mean that the people of Sho’afat refugee camp and Kafr Aqab, as well as other neighborhoods, would be cut off from the rest of Jerusalem.

Shoafat

Israeli settlement in foreground, with Sho’afat camp behind the Wall

The proposal was considered by the Israeli Cabinet in their recent meeting, but no decision was made.

Already, the 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank have been severed from Jerusalem due to the Israeli construction of a massive Wall over the past 13 years. The Wall has annexed large sections of Palestinian land and made them a de facto part of the state of Israel, in direct violation of the responsibilities of an occupier under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s government signed the Convention in 1957, requiring it to provide for the needs of civilian populations under occupation. The Convention also requires that an Occupying Power must not transfer any civilians into the land it has militarily occupied. But Israel has transferred over half a million people into settlements constructed on Palestinian land that was militarily occupied, then illegally seized, since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights began in 1967.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli Annexation Wall has been constructed in such a way as to annex as much of Jerusalem as possible for the Israeli state, while forcing the Palestinian population into smaller and smaller enclaves. Now, under the Israeli Prime Minister’s proposal, residents of those enclaves would lose their residency rights altogether.

Israel has an identity card system for the residents of Jerusalem that is completely unique in the world. Jewish Israelis who live in Jerusalem or in paramilitary colonies in the West Bank are afforded full Israeli citizenship. But Palestinians who live on their ancestral land in Jerusalem are given a different kind of identity card, which ensures that they have far fewer rights than Jewish residents of the city.

If a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, for example, were to travel abroad for more than a year, Israel would consider that person to be an ‘absentee property owner’, and would seize their land and home and annex it to Israel, denying the Palestinian owner the right to return to their home. The rule only applies to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, and not to Jewish residents of the city.

According to the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahranoth, following the construction of new walls and barricades in recent weeks to further separate and segregate Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from Jewish residents, the Israeli Prime Minister told his Cabinet ministers, “We need to examine the possibility of canceling their [Palestinian Jerusalemites] residency. There needs to be a discussion about it.”

Some Israeli ministers voiced opposition to the plan, not because they were concerned about the Palestinian Jerusalemites losing their residency rights, but because they believe such a division would “give up territory” that some Israelis believe should belong to Israel.

That claim is based on a military takeover of the land by Israeli forces. Neither international law nor signed agreements recognize military takeover of land as a legitimate way of expanding state territory.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Group: Nearly 1,000 Palestinians detained in October

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Just short of 1,000 Palestinians, including 147 children, have been detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of the month, Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer said Monday.The group’s advocacy coordinator, Rafat Sub Laban, told Ma’an that at least 988 Palestinians had been detained in October, including 578 in the occupied West Bank, 258 in East Jerusalem, and 152 in Israel.He added that it was not year clear how many prisoners were still being held and how many had been released, although Addameer estimated that there were now some 6,300 Palestinians in Israel’s prisons in total, up from 5,620 at the end of last month.Sub Laban added that there are now around 400 prisoners being held under administrative detention — internment without trial or charge — including 43 Palestinians detained this month.He also said that there are now some 270 children, under the age of 18, inside Israel’s prisons, as well as 36 women.He noted that although the numbers were as accurate as possible, they remained approximate, based on the group’s own documentation.He added: “We’re not getting accurate information from inside the jails.”Other monitoring groups have said that as many as 1,200 or 1,300 Palestinians have so far been detained in October.On Sunday, the Palestinian Government Media Center said that 1,003 Palestinians had been detained, which it said put the number of Palestinians in Israel’s prisons as high as 6,620, with around 500 under administrative detention.An Israeli prisons spokesperson, Sivan Weizman, told Ma’an that there were around 5,800 “security prisoners” inside Israel’s jails, although she said she had no information on how many new prisoners there were in October.According to UN figures, there has been a weekly average of 78 Israeli army “search and arrest operations” carried out across the occupied West Bank, with a sharp increase since protests spread across the occupied territory earlier this month.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Al Jazeera investigation uncovers evidence of government-led genocide in Myanmar

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained compelling eyewitness and documentary evidence that the government of Myanmar has been triggering communal violence in order to achieve political gain.

The film, Genocide Agenda, exclusively reveals:

·         Evidence that Myanmar government agents have been involved in triggering anti-Muslim riots.

·         An official military document that uses hate speech and claims the Myanmarese are in danger of being ‘devoured’ by Muslims.

·         A confidential document warning of “nationwide communal riots” was deliberately sent to local townships to incite anti-Muslim fears.

·         A report by Yale Law School that concludes there is “strong evidence” genocide is taking place in Myanmar.

·         A former United Nations’ Rapporteur on Myanmar who says President Thein Sein should now be investigated for genocide.

·         Evidence that monks involved in the Saffron Revolution in 2007 that challenged military rule were offered money to join anti-Muslim, pro-government groups.

·         A report by the International State Crime Initiative at London University, which confirms that genocide is taking place. The team gathered independent evidence that riots in 2012 that left hundreds of Rohingya dead and over a hundred thousand homeless were pre-planned.

These actions amount to intent to commit genocide, according to the Lowenstein Clinic at Yale University, part of one of the foremost law schools in the United States.

As the first contested elections approach on November 8, Al Jazeera’s investigation presents compelling evidence that marginalizing Muslims and targeting the Rohingya plays into the hands of the military backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

The USDP is running against numerous ethnic and other parties but primarily against the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

Evidence from a cache of confidential documents and sources within the Sangha (monkhood) confirms that monks who protested against military rule in 2007 and were later imprisoned were offered money to support government-backed religious institutions upon their release.

The investigation also reveals how the government triggers communal violence using hired thugs.  A former member of Myanmar’s feared Military Intelligence service describes how she witnessed agent provocateurs from the army provoke problems with Muslims. “The army controlled these events from behind the scenes. They were not directly involved,” she said, “they paid money to people from outside”.

According to Matt Smith, from the advocacy group, Fortify Rights, “Your documents indicate this trend is resurfacing, creating a common enemy.”

The documentary also includes a new study by Yale Law School, which concludes that there is “strong evidence” the government is guilty of genocide in its treatment of the Rohingya.

The study, released exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, follows an eight-month investigation into the plight of Rohingya. The paper drew from documents obtained by the Investigative Unit and Fortify Rights.

Smith told the programme: “Several of the most powerful people in the country should reasonably be the subject of an international investigation into this situation of Rakhine State.”

The former United Nations Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Quintana, tells the programme that certain ministers in the present Myanmar government should face a criminal investigation on charges of genocide. “You have the Minister for Home Affairs. You have the Minister of Immigration… and of course, we also have the President of Myanmar because overall it’s the president who appoints the ministers.”

The contents of a report by the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London are also released for the first time by al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

That report, Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar, concludes genocide of the Rohingya is taking place. Researchers gained evidence that communal violence resulting in hundreds of deaths in 2012 was pre-planned. “It wasn’t communal violence.  It was planned violence”, says Professor Penny Green. “Express buses were organized” to bring Rakhine from outlying areas to take part in the violence.

“Refreshments, meals were provided,” she said. “It had to be paid by somebody. All of this suggests that it was very carefully planned.”

Yale Law School’s full legal paper will be published on Thursday, the 29th October. On the same day, the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary, the University of London, will publish their report, Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar.

(Source / 26.10.2015)

Hamas: Our people do not need Netanyahu’s OK to pray in their Mosque

GAZA, (PIC)– Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has said that the Palestinian people do not need a permission from Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to pray in their Aqsa Mosque.

“[US secretary of state John] Kerry’s remarks that ‘Netanyahu is committed to allowing the Muslims to pray in the Aqsa Mosque’ were ludicrous and meaningless,” spokesman Barhoum stated on Saturday.

The spokesman expressed his belief that Kerry was trying to re-embellish Israel’s Judaization plans in Jerusalem and find a way out for Netanyahu to escape the crisis his extremist and racist policies had caused.

“The Aqsa Mosque will remain for the Muslims and the Palestinians, and we do not need a permission from Netanyahu in order to pray in our Mosque because this is our sacred right and we will defend it regardless of the cost,” he underscored.

(Source / 26.10.2015)